A bill, H.R. 6857, was recently introduced into the US House of Representatives by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-Washington DC) tantalizingly named the "National Vaccine Injury Program Improvement (NVICP) Act of 2018". It would be difficult to find a federal program more in need of improvement that the NVICP, but this bill does very little.
NVICP includes the "vaccine court" which has a huge back log of cases, and an inadequate number of "special masters," judge-like referees (if referees worked for one side.) The bill increases the number of special masters from 8 to 16. On the face of it, that is not a bad idea. More special masters would speed the processing of claims, but speed the processing in a fundamentally flawed program that either completely ignores or mocks basic principles of American justice.
The Seventh Amendment guarantees a trial by jury for any civil matter worth more than $20. The law that created the NVICP gave vaccine manufacturers and physicians complete legal immunity from any injuries caused by a vaccine, and took away the right of vaccine-injured people to sue in court before a judge and jury.
There is no right to discovery, the right to compel the government or corporations to produce documents, or the right to subpoena witnesses, which completely undercuts what is essentially a product liability lawsuit. If plaintiffs had the right to subpoena and discovery the whole structure would collapse.
The statute of limitations for vaccine injury is only three years, and the clock starts ticking at the first appearance of a symptom that could be associated with a vaccine injury. All other injuries run until a child is 21.
Originally, all vaccine cases had to go through the NVICP and if plaintiffs were not happy with the outcome then they could go to a state court, where they would have the rights of subpoena and discovery. But that right was taken away in a bizarre Supreme Court decision in 2010, Brusewitz v. Wyeth.
Please click on the Take Action link to send a message to your member of the House of Representative asking him or her to amend H.R. 6857 so that the basic rights of American law are returned to people with vaccine injuries.
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You can see the very brief text of the bill here.
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